Jet lag-fighting guide: pre-trip


Post-flight, science shows you should keep your workouts of the SIIT variety. So in the days or weeks before your trip, especially if you won’t be able to work out while away, make the majority of your sessions higher intensity, says Matt Berenc, director of education for the Equinox Fitness Training Institute (EFTI).

On the day before your flight or the morning of if you’re taking off at night do no more than a moderate-intensity routine, he says, because sitting on a plane can disrupt your recovery process, leaving you more stiff and sore than normal. (Once you land, do the Fit Flyer routine to restore your energy.)


Shift your eating schedule closer to that of your destination before a far-flung trip, says Bethany Snodgrass, operations manager at the EFTI. For example, if you’re traveling from Los Angeles to Shanghai, take the 15-hour time difference into account and eat all your meals a little later as the trip approaches. For example, eat breakfast at 10 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. and push lunch and dinner back accordingly.

If there was ever a time to eat clean, it’s now. Eating whole, unprocessed foods before the trip will help your body cope with the new climate, time zone, and cultural cuisine, Snodgrass says. “Focus on lean proteins, healthy fats, and a colorful variety of fruits and veggies,” she adds, and limit your alcohol intake to two drinks in the week leading up to takeoff.

Traveling can cause inflammation, so fill up on foods high in antioxidants, like dark berries, and those rich in omega-3 and omega-9 fats, like walnuts and wild-caught fish, to counteract it.

Katzie Guy-Hamilton, New York City-based certified health coach and author of Clean Enough, swears by a pre-airport turmeric ginger shot to act “not only as an antimicrobial boost, but also as an inflammation fighter.” Her recipe: 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon organic turmeric, 2 ounces ginger, a pinch of black pepper, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and some water. Add some oil of oregano, which fights germs, she says.

It is also essential to stay hydrated before the flight in order to arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and well adjusted. Start sipping more H2O a week before your trip and avoid guzzling. “Adequate water spaced throughout the day hydrates you more properly than large quantities at once,” says Guy-Hamilton. You can also hydrate by adding water-rich foods like celery, cucumber, and watermelon to your pre-trip grocery list.


Just like you did with your diet, start shifting your sleep schedule three days before your trip to align with your destination’s hours so your circadian rhythm can begin to adjust to the new time zone, says Jennifer L. Martin, Ph.D., an associate professor of medicine at the University of California at Los Angeles and a member of the Equinox Health Advisory Board. To try it, wake up and go to bed one hour earlier or later (depending on which way you’re traveling) each day for three days. That way, by the time you board the plane, you’ll have shifted your schedule three hours closer to your destination’s time zone. A common mistake is staying up all night before a flight to help with jet lag, says Martin. It might make you sleepy, she says, but it won’t shift your circadian rhythm much. “Some of what feels like jet lag is actually because of insufficient sleep,” she says, so try to get more shuteye than usual in the days leading up to your trip.